Suicide bombers, most likely affiliated with the Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis), have struck two different police control points in Gaza, killing three security agents. Palestinian sources say that the attacks are the result of a series of operations conducted by Hamas, which controls the Strip, against some local militiamen linked to the “Caliphate”.

A source close to Hamas, questioned by the BBC, confirms that one of the bombers who struck on the night between 27 and 28 August had already been reported and arrested in the past.

In the first attack, carried out by a suicide bomber aboard a motorbike packed with explosives, two policemen died and a third Palestinian was injured. Hamas Interior Ministry adds that the second explosion took place about an hour away and killed a third officer and injured several people.

The authorities that control the Strip have declared a state of emergency in the whole area and the security forces are in a state of maximum alert. Hundreds of plainclothes officers and policemen patrol the main roads and roads of all Gaza.

Already in the past, the Strip has been the scene of attacks launched by extremist Salafi groups and jihadist militiamen. Hamas has often been criticized by the most radical Salafist groups; a series of arrests between militants and supporters had sparked the ire of fundamentalists, who responded by threatening violent reprisals. The number of Salafist militants in the Strip is impossible to verify: the leaders of the group speak of thousands, while for Hamas they would be only a few dozen.

Recently, Hamas, which has controlled the Strip since 2007 after having taken it from the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas, released members of these extremist groups, including ISIS militiamen, as a “gesture of good will”.

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